Rare sighting in this area of a Prairie Falcon

Spotters needed for annual bird count

Volunteers needed for annual Cawston bird count on January 3. All experience levels welcome.

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was started in 1900 by Frank Chapman, ornithologist and an officer of the then new Audubon Society. The count originated as a protest against a practice called the Christmas side hunt. It was a ‘side’ hunt because folks would gather, and individually or as a group, see who could shoot the widest variety of wildlife, furred or feathered, at Christmas.

During this period many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations and the CBC provided an alternative activity which reduced the annual slaughter. Fortunately, the signing of the Lacey Act in 1900 and the Migratory Bird Treaty in 1918 ended the ‘side’ hunt.

Currently, habitat loss, mostly from various human activities, greatly contributes to declining bird numbers. Studies by the World Conservation Union and the Stanford Center for Conservation Biology predict that in the next 100 years, 10 per cent to 25 per cent of all bird species will become extinct. For the latest information on the State of Birds, visit: http://www.stateofthebirds.org/

Birds are important to the nature of things; being parents of voracious eaters who require vast quantities of insects, weed seeds or rodents, a healthy bird population helps control many pest species. Yes, sometimes they eat a bit of fruit too, but this is mitigated by their beneficial habits.

If you are interested in birds join us on January 3. We need ‘spotters’, eyes to scan the landscape bringing birds to our attention. Inexperienced people will be pared with experienced birders who are willing to share their knowledge. Participants are assigned a route, counting and recording the birds they see or hear. This is an excellent opportunity to learn to better identify birds, get outside on a winter day, and enjoy the beautiful Similkameen while contributing important information to the study of bird populations.

Local CBC’s occur around Princeton, Hedley/Apex, Penticton, Vaseux Lake, Oliver-Osoyoos, Bridesville, and in many other communities throughout North America. The day’s sightings are submitted to Bird Studies Canada and becomes important information in tracking the status of birds across the continent and around the world.

Upon completion we gather, enjoy a pot luck supper, share interesting happenings and report our count. We meet at the home of Bob and Marilyn Bergen, 2289 Agar Road, Cawston at 8 am. Your contribution to the pot luck can be left here.

More information: Call Lee McFadyen at 250-499-5404 or Email: mariposaorgf@hotmail.com

For more information on Bird Studies Canada visit: // www.bsc-eoc.org/